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A2J General Terms – Access to Justice

Access to Justice General Terms

The terms used in the SOPs are defined as:

Access to Justice: The term Access to Justice is not defined in international law and has been used in different ways in different contexts. Traditionally, the term refers to opening up the formal systems and structures of the law to disadvantaged groups in society. This includes not only removing legal and financial barriers, but also social barriers such as language, lack of knowledge of legal rights and intimidation by the law and legal institutions.


Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): The term “alternative dispute resolution” or “ADR” is often used to describe a wide variety of dispute resolution mechanisms that are alternative to full-scale court processes. The term can refer to everything  from facilitated settlement negotiations in which  disputants are encouraged to negotiate directly  with each other prior to some other legal  process, to arbitration systems or mini-trials that  look and feel very much like a courtroom  process. Processes designed to manage community tension or facilitate community development issues can also be included within the rubric of community based ADR.


ADR System: ADR systems may be generally categorized as negotiation, conciliation/mediation, or arbitration systems.  Negotiation systems create a structure to encourage and facilitate direct negotiation between parties to a dispute, without the intervention of a third party. Mediation and conciliation systems are very similar in that they interject a third party between the disputants, either to mediate a specific dispute or to reconcile their relationship. Mediators and conciliators may simply facilitate communication, or may help direct and structure a settlement, but they do not have the authority to decide or rule on a settlement. Arbitration systems authorize a third party to decide how a dispute should be resolved


Community refers to the affected/ unaware/ demotivated to law & legal rights/ poor and vulnerable class of the district.


Gender: Identifies the social relations between men and women. It refers to the relationship between men and women, boys and girls, and how this is socially constructed. Gender roles are dynamic and change over the time.


Gender Based Violence: The term “gender-based violence” refers to violence that targets individuals or groups on the basis of their gender. The United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) defines it as “violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately”, in its General Recommendation 19. This includes acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, the threat of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty. Together with “sexual violence” and “violence against women”, “gender-based violence” is used interchangeably. GBV ranges from direct forms of physical harm; battering; rape; trafficking of women, girls and young children; honor killing; sexual abuse to cultural and structural forms of violence. Cultural violence includes all those customs, traditions and societal practices that discriminate against women and girls such as forced marriages, exchange of women and girls in settling disputes amongst men (wani, swara, sung chati etc). Structural forms of violence deny women equal opportunities and access to resources such as education, skill development and employment opportunities.


Habeas Corpus (illegal detention) – (Reason of Selection: Lack of awareness on Habeas Corpus (illegal detention). There is a high rate of Habeas Corpus cases as so many people are detained illegally and Cover Criminal matter)


Helpline is a telephone line operated by a charitable organization for people in distress


Law practitioners are the state institutions which practice law, i.e. Bar Councils, Courts and Judiciary.


Law enforcers represent the state institutions for enforcing the law, i.e. Police, Land & Revenue departments, Tax collecting departments etc.


Legal Aid represents Legal services offered to indigent people at no, or very low cost.


Low-bono Legal Services: means provision of legal services by lawyer at a reduced fees or discounted rate.


Minorities: Pakistan’s minorities can essentially be categorized as ‘ethnic and linguistic’ and ‘religious’. The term ‘minority’ is used in the 1973 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on several occasions, there is however no strict definition of this term. Successive federal governments have taken the position that minorities within Pakistan are necessarily religious, and that there are no ethnic, racial or linguistic minorities or indigenous peoples. The most recent national census, completed in 1998, also restricts its data to religious minorities. According to the 1998 national census, 96.28 per cent of the population follows the Islamic faith. Non-Muslims constitute 3.72 per cent of the total population. Christians, Hindus, Ahmaddiyas, scheduled castes and others (including Sikhs and Parsis) are officially and constitutionally recognized as religious minorities. Ethnic minorities is a group that has same customs, origin, cultural heritage and traditions who live in a place where most people have a different culture and different traditions, for example Hazaras in Balochistan


Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM), an autonomous body set up through 1991 Act. PBM is significantly contributing toward poverty alleviation through its various poorest of the poor focused services and providing assistance to destitute, disabled, widow, orphan, invalid, infirm and other needy persons, as per eligibly criteria approved by Bait-ul-Mal Board. “Bait-ul-Mal” means the welfare fund to be called Bait-ul-Mal established under Pakistan Bait-ul-mal Act, 1991.


Paralegal is an individual trained to assist others resolve simple legal problems at grassroot level only.


Person with Disability: The Disabled Persons’ (Employment and Rehabilitation) Ordinance (1981) defines “disabled person” as “a person who, on account of injury, disease or congenital deformity, is handicapped for undertaking any gainful profession or employment in order to earn his livelihood, and includes a person who is blind, deaf, physically handicapped or mentally retarded.” (Pakistan 1981, art. 2, para. 3)

According to the United Nations Standard Rules on the equalization of Opportunities for Persons with disabilities:

The term “Disability” summarizes a great number of different functional limitations occurring in any population, in any country of the world. People may be disabled by physical, intellectual or sensory impairment, medical conditions or mental illness. Such impairments, conditions or illnesses may be permanent or transitory in nature.

The term “Handicap” means the loss or limitation of opportunities to take part in the life of the community on an equal level with others. It describes the encounter between the person with a disability and the environment. The purpose of this term is to emphasize the focus on shortcomings in the environment and in many organized activities in society, for example, information, communication and education, which prevent persons with disabilities from participating on equal terms.

As per World Health Organization (WHO), Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.


Pro-bono Legal Services: means provision of legal services by lawyer without charging any legal fees.


Pro-bono Legal Aid: means provision of legal services such as court representation, ADR, counseling, court documentary/administrative support, or legal advice extended to a deserving person (poor, vulnerable & marginalized) without asking any remuneration from the recipients.


Sexual Violence: Sexual violence includes sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. It refers to any act, attempt, or threat of a sexual nature that result, or is likely to result in, physical, psychological and emotional harm. Sexual violence is a form of gender-based violence.


Transgender: A term for people whose gender identity, expression or behaviour is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth.


Violence Against Women: Violence against women is defined by the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, adopted by the General Assembly on 20 December 1993, as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.

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